Labor Day has come and gone but garage sale signs are still popping up like dandelions in most neighborhoods. With each one I see, I get that familiar itch to go check out the sale—but then I stop and tell myself, “I already have a garage.” If my own bad joke doesn’t dissuade me, then I may drive by slowly, but I rarely ever stop.
And after the last garage sale I held, I doubt if I’ll ever have another one. It had been ten years since my last one. I suppose my memory of the pain had been erased, leaving just the tantalizing pleasure. For whatever reason, I gave in to temptation. I had a garage sale.
I knew it was going to be a one-woman show when my husband and I agreed he should go ahead and go on a weekend men’s retreat, but that’s not when I decided the garage sale was a bad idea.
The sale was on a Saturday, so on Friday evening I was in our garage surrounded by all the priceless items I had collected. Where to begin? Soon I was setting up “store” and having fun merchandising the treasures into departments. By this time it was about 11:00 p.m. and I hadn’t even begun to price the items. But that’s not when I decided the garage sale was a bad idea.
The curtains in the garage caught my eye and I reasoned they should be washed if my store was going to impress a bunch of strangers, so I took them down and put them in the washer. Re-hanging the curtains about 1:30 a.m., I fell inside the big silver garbage can I was standing on. But that’s not when I decided the garage sale was a bad idea.
By 2:30 a.m. I was making real progress getting the color-coordinated stickers on all the items. The garage door was down and the door to the house was open, so my two cats came out to see what I was doing up so late.
Suddenly I heard a scuffle in the corner of the garage. I looked up to see my big black and white cat, Al, with a mouse in his mouth—its little tail and legs sticking out. I convinced Al to drop the mouse, who promptly scurried away, and got both cats shut up in the house. Then I realized I still had another hour’s work to do in the garage—only now I’d be doing it with a mouse who was hurt, angry, or both. That’s when I decided the garage sale was a bad idea.
After three hours of sleep, I was up at the crack of dawn to greet the shoppers. They literally ran up my driveway and into the garage as soon as I opened for business. Many of the early birds left after canvassing the garage briefly. Those were the shoppers expecting to find the Hope diamond carelessly displayed alongside the old bedroom slippers.
By day’s end I was practically giving away anything someone even glanced at sideways, still I had a garage full of valuable stuff. It was another week before a charity picked up the remainder of my treasures and we had our garage back. Of course it could have been worse. At least none of the shoppers lifted the lid to a pot only to discover a dead mouse inside!
I applaud your frugality if you shop garage sales, and if you have the fortitude to have them, I wish you the best. As for me, I’m going to avoid the mania…unless one of those signs really entices me of course!